Is Grant Funding a vital part of your organisation?

It involves getting the resources – money,  equipment, premises etc. – that your organisation needs to carry out its work.
Fundraising should be an organised, planned activity. There are a number of steps to  successful grant funding:

Step 1: Appoint a fundraiser or fundraising group
Step 2: Make sure you’re ready to be funded
Step 3: Decide what you need funds for
Step 4: Make a budget
Step 5: Locate funders
Step 6: Make applications
Step 7: Follow up

The time between when you decide you need funds, to when you actually receive them is
likely to be about six months. It is important, therefore, that you start your fundraising well in
advance .

Stage 1: Appoint a fundraiser or fundraising group
It is essential that a person, or group of people, see fundraising as their responsibility.
Fundraising requires time and effort to be successful, so a person or team should commit
themselves to it. The most successful funding application will have involved a range of people
from within the organisation. This is because a successful fundraising application involves
communicating the vision of your organisation to a funder. That vision is, or should be, a
collective vision. This person or group should oversee all the following steps.

Stage 2: Make sure you’re ready to be funded
All funders require, as a minimum, that:
• You are a non-profit organisation with charitable or benevolent aims;
• You have a set of rules or constitution, stating your aims and how you operate;
• You have a bank account and keep financial records.

This is one of the ways of ensuring that their money will be properly managed and spent.
Certain things you might want to fund – a worker, a building, or a vehicle for example – give
you legal obligations. A funder will require evidence that you understand these obligations,
and that you have taken steps to comply with them.

Stage 3: Research and plan your project
Decide whether you want to cover your organisation’s general running costs, or have a
particular project, with costs of its own. Make a list of ALL the items that you could need to
pay for, for your organisation or project.

Divide the list into two categories – capital and revenue. Capital means items of equipment
that you usually pay a fixed one-off amount for –buildings, computers, vehicles, for example.
Revenue is on-going costs like wages, expenses, bills, core funding, etc..

Decide when you need the money for, and how long it has to last. For a project, there will
usually be a start and finish date, or at least an idea of how long it will last. If you are looking
for general running costs, you should include all your expenditure for one year, or two or three
years. It is up to you how far ahead you can accurately plan, but one year is a usual

Stage 4: Make a budget
Budgeting is simply putting amounts to all the things you’ll need to spend money on. Budgets
should not be guesswork – get as near as you can to the actual amounts you will have to pay.
For example, get quotes for building work, get exact prices for equipment, ask how much rent
people pay for similar offices to yours, find out how much people get paid for the kind of posts
you want to fund. Don’t forget to include in your budget realistic amounts for contingencies
and reserves.

Funders will know if your budget is not accurate – your figures will be too rounded, or
unrealistic. A properly worked out budget is one of the most important elements of
successful fundraising.

Stage 5: Locate funders
Once you have made a budget you can start to look for funders.

Stage 6: Make applications
After finding appropriate funders, the next stage is to make a good application.

Stage 7: Follow up
You should think of fundraising as a long-term, ongoing process, not a one-off. How you treat
your funders is therefore important. You might want to go back to funders in future, or may
need to show new funders that you have a good track record of managing funds.

So once you have succeeded in getting your funds, there are 2 important steps to take:
• Say thank you! Many beneficiaries simply accept the money without acknowledging it.
Funders are human beings too, and will respond well to gratitude for the help they
have given. A phone call may suffice, a letter will be much appreciated, or you could
invite them to come along and see the project they have funded in progress.
• Make sure that you do all that the funder requests in terms of monitoring your work,
reporting and accounting. You may need to fill in a form or forms to show how you
have spent the money, or how the project or organisation is progressing.

If there is no particular information to provide, it is a good idea to send a report to your
funders. This could be not just facts and figures but also photographs of your work, to show
how the money is being used, and to bring your work to life. This will build a stronger
relationship with funders, which could lead to more support in future.